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How Anonymous Is Bitcoin?

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Cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin especially, has a reputation for being a completely anonymous form of payment, free from tracking and interference. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that these digital currencies reveal a lot more information about you than you might think.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/741484/how-anonymous-is-bitcoin/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Fergus O’Sullivan

Central banks are headed toward digital currencies

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The U.S. is starting a national conversation around a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Why it matters: Several other countries have already experimented with or released early versions of CBDCs. Such a pivot could aid underbanked populations, and help make banking and monetary policy more efficient.


Driving the news: The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on CBDC Wednesday, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

  • The Federal Reserve is set to release a discussion paper next month on how it’s thinking about a digital dollar.

How it would work: First, a CBDC is a digital version of the dollar, so its value wouldn’t fluctuate versus the dollar… since it is the dollar.

  • Put simply, a CBDC is just a digital version of an existing currency that is issued, governed and backed by a central bank.
  • CBDCs would be recognized as legal money, unlike bitcoin

The pros: It would enable more people to become part of the banking system, reduce the cost to bank and increase the rate of payments innovation.

  • The Federal Reserve could also gain more precision over money supply, and lawmakers could distribute government assistance programs such as social security and food stamps to a wider underserved group of the country. 
  • A U.S. CBDC could also help maintain the global predominance of the dollar.

The cons: Potential drawbacks include the traceability of digital payments. The anonymity of cash offers privacy.

  • Security of financial data on hundreds of millions of people will not come easy. 
  • Financial institutions are also fearful banks could lose a large proportion of their deposit base. 

What they’re saying: “CBDCs are ultimately quite likely for many countries,” Darrell Duffie, of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, tells Axios. Duffie was a witness at the Senate hearing.

  • “I’m not confident that they are actually necessary — that needs to be judged based on the best CBDC designs that will emerge,” Duffie adds.

State of play: More than 60 central banks have been looking into CBDCs since 2014, according to a PwC report from April.

  • The Bahamas and Mainland China have active trials dubbed, the “Sand Dollar” and the “Digital Yuan,” respectively, that individuals can use as a form of digital cash.
  • The Federal Reserve has been researching digital currencies since at least 2018, but at a less consistent pace compared to other central banks reviewed by PwC. 

Be smart: While there is general agreement about what a CBDC is, countries are faced with hundreds of choices and decisions with respect to how they build their systems — and, in turn, what the long-term implications will be.

  • So far, most observers have assumed that CBDCs will be account-based, rather than being token-based like most existing cryptocurrencies.

What to watch: Lev Menand of Columbia Law School, who also testified, tells Axios he believes the pandemic highlighted the inequities and inefficiencies of current payments system.

  • “It took far too long to distribute critical economic aid in April and May of last year,” says Menand.
  • Some experts also say that criminals may have stolen as much as $400 billion of unemployment benefits, Axios’ chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon reported.

Felix’s thought bubble: “Digital currencies are still in their infancy, despite bitcoin being 10 years old. I wouldn’t expect to see a U.S. CBDC this decade.”

Go deeper on the threat that CBDCs pose to digital stablecoins.

Source: https://www.axios.com/cbdc-us-fed-central-bank-digital-currency-china-yuan-10adb535-adf1-4af5-82f5-68155e0c1ae1.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Hope King

NFTs Are Crashing and Who Could Have Seen This Coming Other Than Basically Anyone?

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The crypto world saw a dizzying surge this year of NFTs being used to sell ownership of everything from works of online art to random tweets, though it was never clear just why NFTs were commanding such staggering prices. Bragging rights? Status symbols? Or just pure speculation driven by skyrocketing cryptocurrency…

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/nfts-are-crashing-and-who-could-have-seen-this-coming-o-1847020345
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Tom McKay

Elon Musk suspends Tesla purchases with bitcoin

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Consumers can no longer buy Tesla vehicles with bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Wednesday.

What he’s saying: Musk cited the environmental concerns associated with bitcoin — the cryptocurrency has a massive carbon footprint — as his reasoning behind Wednesday’s decision.


“Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin,” Musk said.

  • “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil; fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”
  • “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future.”
  • “[W]e intend to use it as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy,” he said, adding that Tesla is considering other cryptocurrencies that consume less energy.

Flashback: Musk in March approved the use of the cryptocurrency for Tesla purchases in the U.S. Some critics at the time said the move could tarnish the company’s environmentally friendly image.

Our thought bubble, from Axios’ Ina Fried: The energy issues related to Bitcoin have been long known and less energy consuming options have been available for some time.

Source: https://www.axios.com/elon-musk-suspend-tesla-bitcoin-c8226997-c55a-49da-936a-f64ac237bd39.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ivana Saric

What is Dogecoin, and Why Are People Buying It?

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Now that you’ve gotten a handle on the GameStop stock madness, it’s time to learn about Dogecoin. Why is the retail investor hivemind pumping up the obscure cryptocurrency with a Shiba Inu dog for a mascot? Why, for the Lolz. With the help of Reddit and Elon Musk, Dogecoin has increased in value by 600% in the last 24…

Read more…

Source: https://twocents.lifehacker.com/what-is-dogecoin-and-why-are-people-buying-it-1846161671
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mike Winters on Two Cents, shared by Andrew Couts to Gizmodo

Is rising usage driving crypto’s recent price boom?

Everything is dumb until it works.

As 2020 comes to a close, the cryptocurrency world is experiencing another late-year surge of consumer interest as prices climb in value. Bitcoin is over $23,000 as I write to you, an all-time high. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency has recovered sharply as well, returning to mid-2018 prices.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


These gains have created a huge amount of wealth for crypto holders. According to CoinMarketCap, after falling under $140 billion in mid-March during the market selloff surrounding the beginning of COVID-19’s battering of America, the value of all cryptos has surged to nearly $659 billion.

It still has some way to go before it crests the record of around $830 billion set back in January 2018. But your Twitter feed is once again rife with notes about crypto and some of your friends have become insufferable once again.

The tweets and the friends have something of a point. This morning I went around the Internet with a basket, collecting information about active bitcoin wallets, the distributed app (Dapp) market, the burgeoning decentralized finance (DeFi) space and other aspects to get a picture of what’s going on beyond mere price records.

After all, the price of every damn thing is inflated today, so seeing bitcoin set an all-time-high felt more appropriate than strange. Does the data show that there’s activity behind the valuation hype?

A quick look around the world of crypto

We have a few metrics to peek at, but let’s start with some old bitcoin-flavored favorites.

  • Unique bitcoin addresses used, via Blockchain.info: Modestly bullish.

Per the charting section of Blockchain.info, bitcoin unique addresses used — a proxy for the coin’s popularity — is up some in recent weeks, and up more generally in 2020. It remains below historical highs.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/17/is-rising-usage-driving-cryptos-recent-price-boom/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Alex Wilhelm

PayPal says all users in U.S. can now buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies

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PayPal announced today it’s dropping the waitlist to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency in the U.S. With the move, all customers in the U.S. will be able to purchase cryptocurrency directly from within their PayPal accounts. U.S. customers will also be alerted to the new feature through both an email and a push notification in the coming days, the company says.

The feature was already partially available in the U.S. before today, but PayPal had been onboarding interested customers via a waitlist.

With the update, users will no longer have to wait for a spot to open,

In addition, PayPal says that due to initial demand from its customers, it’s increasing its weekly cryptocurrency purchase limit from $10K per week to $20K per week.

In October, PayPal had first announced its plans to enter the cryptocurrency market by way of a partnership with cryptocurrency company Paxos. This partner helps to power the new service for PayPal, enabling its customers to buy, sell and hold a range of cryptocurrencies —  initially including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

By next year, PayPal plans to allow users to make PayPal purchases with cryptocurrencies as well, the company has said..

In terms of exchange rates, PayPal will charge $0.50 USD on transactions up to $24.99 USD, 2.3% on transactions from $25 to $100 USD; 2.0% on transactions from $100.01 to $200 USD; $1.80% on transactions of $200.01 to $1,000 USD; and 1.5% on transactions over $1,000 USD.

PayPal notes there are no fees for holding crypto in your account. And, to get things started, PayPal is waiving fees until 2021.

The company somewhat quietly disclosed the news today via an update to last month’s press release. It says users can download the PayPal app or log in to their PayPal account to learn more.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/12/paypal-says-all-users-in-u-s-can-now-buy-hold-and-sell-cryptocurrencies/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sarah Perez

China’s digital currency aims to leave the rest of the world in the dust

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China is already test-driving the future of finance while the rest of the world is stuck trying to get its learner’s permit.

What’s happening: Over the past two weeks Chinese authorities in cities like Shenzhen and Chengdu have given out the country’s brand new digital renminbi currency and are urging even faster rollout of the token nationwide.


  • The country’s central bank has distributed the currency to “lottery” winners who are reportedly spending it at thousands of retailers, including local supermarkets and pharmacies and even Walmart.

What they’re saying: “We must serve dual circulation with fintech-led innovations,” Chen Yulu, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said in an article published on Sunday in the PBOC-run China Finance magazine.

  • “We must build an independent and high-quality financial infrastructure … quicken the pace of research and development of the central bank digital currency, and ensure that pilot tests show [the digital currency] is controllable and safeguards the security of payments.”

On the other side: The Bank for International Settlements and seven mostly Western central banks including the Fed, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan and the Bank of England published a report last week detailing the “foundational principles” and “core features” of a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC) in order to “guide exploration and support public policy objectives.”

  • None of the central banks committed to pursuing or producing a digital currency as part of the report.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the world’s move away from paper money and producing the world’s first CBDC could put China in the driver’s seat to steer the future of payments and currency.

Between the lines: “If you take the last 250 days what has happened is we’ve gone into a different pace of digital,” Charlotte Hogg, CEO of European operations at Visa, said during a panel at the Institute of International Finance’s annual meeting Tuesday.

  • “Everything that we can see is that people who never used digital payments before are using them. They’re going to continue to use them, particularly as those more vulnerable in our societies continue to shield and it’s going to be ever more important for our recovery for all of our business communities to be able to use forms of digital payment.”

Zoom in: Facebook attempted to produce a digital currency that would have been convertible across borders and provided users the opportunity to spend and exchange it, but was rebuffed by U.S. and international regulators concerned about a for-profit company having so much influence on the supply of money.

  • That concern is still a driving force behind central banks’ efforts — that and a desire to ensure commercial banks aren’t left out in the cold once digital payments make many of their services obsolete.

Source: https://www.axios.com/china-digital-currency-fca0c276-e738-471c-bb94-f93816b9864c.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dion Rabouin

Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

Blockchains are less buzzworthy than they were a couple of years ago, and for good reason — the price you pay for a blockchain’s immutability compared to the price of a database plus human oversight isn’t worth it. Jesse Frederik wrote about the decline of blockchains for The Correspondent:

Out of over 86,000 blockchain projects that had been launched, 92% had been abandoned by the end of 2017, according to consultancy firm Deloitte. 

Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/09/blockchain-the-amazing-solution-for-almost-nothing.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mark Frauenfelder